Papal Visit

Published on Sep 23rd, 2015 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Papal Visit
Papal Visit

Even though it may seem as if what I believe and what Catholics believe
has many things in common the differences in what we believe about
justification and how to get to heaven are so huge that those
commonalities are overwhelmed.  We cannot say that our belief in
Jesus being the Son of God is enough to unite us when we then
fundamentally disagree about what the work of Jesus accomplished and
what brings us to heaven.  All of this is going to boil down as to
what we believe our final authority in these matters is going to
be...the Bible or the tradition and teaching of the church.  One
other area that there is great disagreement is the office of the
pope.  Catholics contend that the pope is in a direct line of the
Apostle Peter and can give infallible truth about faith and doctrine
when speaking ex cathedra (from the chair of St. Peter).  His
role as head of the church gives him great authority and power.  The
sheer number of world wide Catholics gives him great clout with
political leaders and nation heads. This week, Pope Francis, is
visiting the United States.  He will canonize a saint, hold several
masses, and meet with many people.

This visit has slightly effected my life.  I have two trips planned around
this time and I needed to make sure that I was no where near
Philadelphia during the Pope's planned visit due to the amount of
traffic and the amount of major roads that will be closed.  They are
expecting approximately 1.5 million people to attend the public mass.
 While I believe that the Catholic church is biblical inaccurate on a
number of things and I do not believe in the biblical authority of
the papal office, I do understand why there will be 1.5 million
people at the mass.  I have heard and had a number of conversations
with non Catholics about what they perceive to be the lunacy of such
crowds.  Why do so many people want to flock to see one man?  I
believe these kinds of conversations can be harmful and demeaning to
people.  They can hurt our ability to share the true gospel with
those who desire to attend such an event.

This past weekend I left Friday morning, flew down to Florida, and then
flew home Monday night.  I flew with my wife and two friends.  We
attended a conference with John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul.  Why did
we spend all of this money and go through all of this inconvenience
when we could have just as easily purchased the tapes or videos of
the conference and watched them in the comfort of our own home? 
There is something different about getting out of our environment and
seeing and hearing people speak in a live setting.  If you believe
that the Pope is truly the head of your church, is truly in the line
of Peter, has been chosen and blessed by God...then the rare
opportunity to see him live is something that you would want to
experience.  When someone then questions the wisdom of making all of
that effort to just see a demeans you and is meant to make
you look foolish.  I don't think that is too productive in our quest
to determine the truth.

Listen, the visit of the Pope to America can create many opportunities to
speak of important differences that we have.  Those conversations can
be great opportunities to share what the Word of God truly teaches
about our differences.  The visit can also give us a chance to
observe and learn about those who disagree with us.  But when we mock
the enthusiasm of those who desire to share in the experience, we
come across as condescending and haughty.  Let's be careful to stand
in the truth and be loving toward those to whom the truth has not yet
been revealed.

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